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Top 5: Exhibitions in 2017

Image: Takashi Murakami/Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd.

This year holds some fabulous treats for lovers of art and design; Bronwyn Griffiths selects five international exhibitions not to miss


The Pink Floyd Exhibition: Their Mortal Remains, Victoria & Albert Museum, London (13 May to 1 October 2017)

Following the blockbuster David Bowie Is…. exhibition in 2013 (which has since toured Toronto, Sao Paulo, Melbourne and Tokyo), there’s sizeable anticipation for this, the first international retrospective of one of the world’s most iconic bands. Encompassing the music, staging and design of the legendary prog rock outfit, Their Mortal Remains will provide an audio-visual adventure through 50 years, with over 350 artefacts. Pink Floyd’s surviving members — Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason — and the estate of Richard Wright, have worked closely with the curators to develop the exhibition’s content, ensuring it will be the definitive tribute to one of most commercially successful and influential bands in popular music history. vam.ac.uk

Middle of Now | Here, Honolulu Biennial, Hawaii (8 March to 8 May 2017)

Vanity Fair has earmarked this debut as the top art event to attend in 2017. Focusing on artists connected through the Pacific Ocean, it will showcase work from local creatives in addition to those from the Pacific Islands, Asia, North America, Australia, and New Zealand. This is the first ever biennial to take place in the former island nation, and has attracted some big art world names, including the iconic queen of polka dots, Yayoi Kusama. Spring sees Hawaii move from its wet to dry season, so visitors can expect temperatures around 25C matched with a vibrant slice of the 50th state’s multicultural history. honolulubiennial.org

The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (27 August to 7 November 2017)

This exclusive exhibition marks 70 years since Dior launched his eponymous design brand and the ‘New Look’. Australia’s affinity with the fashion icon began in Dior’s early days; his house models flew to Sydney for the historic ‘Spring’ 1948 fashion parade ¬– the first complete Dior collection to be show outside of Paris. The designer even named pieces after Melbourne and Sydney, and created a number of looks called Australie. The exhibition is part of commemorative events also taking place in Paris and New York. More than 140 couture garments will go on display in Melbourne, curated from the NGV’s own collection, the Dior archives in Paris and international galleries including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. ngv.vic.gov.au

Hollywood Africans, Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1983. Image: Shinya Suzui/Flickr

documenta 14, Kassel and Athens (8 April to 17 September 2017)

Held only once every five years, documenta is one of the most important contemporary art exhibitions in the world. This year, it’s spread between two separate locations: its original home of Kassel, central Germany, and Athens. Artist Arnold Bode started this quinquennial event in 1955 to reinvigorate Germany’s appreciation for modern art, which had been banned under the Nazi regime. The event has since grown to become a highlight on the international art schedule – 2012’s documenta attracted nearly 1 million visitors over the course of 100 days. While featured artists have two years to produce their work, the line-up isn’t usually announced in advance; however, previous events have seen works on display from the likes of Picasso, Basquiat and Abramović. documenta14.de

Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (6 June to 24 September 2017)

Known for his explosively colourful paintings and sculptures, Takashi Murakami will be the subject of a major retrospective in Chicago this summer. Featuring 50 works, the exhibition will highlight how Murakami’s vibrant, manga-inspired art is based on traditions of Japanese painting and folklore, including the Nihonga style. His collaborations with fashion houses and musicians (including Louis Vuitton and Kayne West) have brought him celebrity status in his home country, and blurred the boundaries between fine art and commercial branding. This promises to be one of the most iconic exhibitions of 2017. mcachicago.org

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